For Minford Falcon Erin Daniels basketball is not always about wins. Instead, Daniels says it has always been about friendship. That made her 1000th point even more meaningful as she had her best friend by her side as she watched the ball swoosh through the net.
Daniels started playing basketball in kindergarten when she instantly fell in love with the sport. Daniels explained that she quickly tried to be as involved as possible, taking part in camps and playing travel ball in third grade. Daniels says she still plays travel ball and tries to stay as active as possible.
“I play basketball pretty much all year,” she explained.
The high school junior credited the friendships and memories that she has made for her long running career.
“These girls are my sisters, and they mean the world to me,” Daniels commented.
That made it much more important to Erin when her 1000th shot was made on a pass from her best friend Abby Grasso.
The Falcons were playing against the Waverly Tigers – a game they won 79-49. Daniels had been excited for this moment all year. Going into the game, she knew that it was going to be her night. As if that was enough reason to be nervous, the entire school was waiting on her to make one shot.
“Before the game even started, I was trying not to be nervous,” Daniels commented.
There had been an announcement over the loud speaker at the end of the school day, encouraging everyone to show up to support Daniels. Additionally, she had wanted this most of her career and really wanted to accomplish the shot at a home game.
Once on the court, Daniels became even more nervous.
“I air balled the first shot,” she stated.
This continued for much of the start of the game.
“I just couldn’t make anything,” Daniels said. “Then, every time I did make a shot, the crowd would get louder.”
Her teammates and close friends wanted to help, so they just kept passing her the ball. Daniels said she had to take a minute and remember the game. She asked her teammates to just play ball. She was nearing the goal, only needing one more point, so she went for some big three point baskets and missed them. Then, the coach took out Grasso. Daniels wanted her by her side. She missed a few shots before Grasso asked the coach to put her back in. Grasso had the ball, passed to Daniels and finally, after missing a few shots, Daniels hit her 1000th point on a three pointer on her home court on a pass from her best friend just as she had wanted.
“I could hear the crowd going crazy,” Daniels stated.
Then, when she turned around, the auditorium was covered in people wearing shirts in support of her accomplishment.
“It gives me cold chills thinking about it,” she stated.
Daniels is now on to reaching for her next goal. She explained that the school record is 1349, a goal which she is confident that she can hit next year as a senior. Then, after graduation, she hopes to play college basketball in order to become a teacher and a coach so that she can help others achieve their goals.
Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1930 or on Twitter @nikkib45653.